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Puff pastry question

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I love using frozen puff pastry for party appetizers, but consistently have a problem when rolling out the entire sheet and baking on it - the edges are nice and crisp, but the interior, under all the ingredients, turns almost mushy and overly buttery, with no flake. For example, I made this recipe from Food and Wine (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sp...) but using a sheet of Dufour's puff pastry. I even rolled out the pastry and pre-cooked for about 10 minutes to try to get the interior section to puff and flake a bit, but after I put the ingredients on and cooked it, had the same issue. Anyone know how to avoid this?

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  1. I would "seal" the puff pastry with a layer of cheese.

    2 Replies
    1. re: youareabunny

      Do you mean like a layer of grated parmesan before adding the other ingredients and baking? Or add the cheese, par-bake, and then do the other toppings?

      1. re: red_zinger

        You would probably be fine either way. If you parbake with the cheese you will get more crispy cooked cheese (yum for me).

        Actually, that method would probably be easier since the first layer is a spread of creme fraiche. That would be difficult if there's cheese smearing around the whole time.

    2. Don't put your baking sheet directly on an oven rack but instead on top of another preheated baking sheet or on a baking stone or steel. I think I originally got this idea from Cooks Illustrated.

      (Don't try this if you're baking using Pyrex, because it may shatter.)

      1. I have this problem from time to time as well. If your topping is wet or has ingredients that let out a lot of water there really is little you can do.

        If you feel like the topping moisture isn't your issue, I would try one of two things.

        1) What drongo suggested, placing your baking sheet on another pre-heated baking sheet. I actually put a sheet pan upside down in the oven to preheat and place the other one on top of that.

        2) Bake longer to completely set the dough. You can either keep it going at the same temp if the dough doesn't look like it is going to burn or you can turn the temp down and let it go longer to help dry out the dough after it has puffed. Both of these are an attempt to make sure all the butter has baked off it's moisture content, which if it hasn't as soon as it starts to cool off will cause the dough to get wet and greasy.

        On a basic level, the butter layer of puff pastry has two purposes (beyond tasting fabulous) - the moisture of the butter in the hot oven causes the layers to separate and "puff". The butter fat then causes the dough to essentially "fry" which causes the fabulous crispiness. If that "frying" step isn't completed, the interior layers of the dough are still raw and contain too much moisture, which will cause them to collapse as the pastry cools.

        1. First off, dufour is absolutely the best puff pastry out there!

          In addition to previous suggestions re:too much moisture i have found that larger pcs are more difficult. In the linked recipe the toppings may have been too wet, and baking as two smaller rectangles (with parbake first) would help.